Apple is one step closer to turning iPhone into a car key

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A Tesla Watch app concept.
With Apple embracing digital keys, this Tesla Watch app concept shows what might soon be a standard feature.
Photo: Eleks Labs

Apple is a charter member of the Car Connectivity Consortium, which on Monday unveiled a new version of its system to enable phones to act as digital keys.

This meshes with an unconfirmed report from February that Apple plans to add this feature to iOS 14.

Apple backs Digital Key 2.0

Because Apple is a charter member of the CCC standards group, it sits on the board of directors. Other members include Samsung and LG, as well as BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen and more.

The fact that Apple is part of this consortium adds weight to a previous leak with details of a CarKey API in iOS 14, the version of the iPhone operating system expected in autumn 2020.

Supposedly, digital keys will appear in the Wallet app, but can also be transferred to an Apple Watch.

Leave your keys at home

The goal of the CCC’s Digital Key is to provide the same features, security and privacy of current keys, but with additional features. That includes making it easy to share virtual car keys with family, friends or co-workers.

“I’m excited about the Digital Key ecosystem that is emerging where using your smartphone as your car key becomes as common as using that same phone as your go-to camera is today,” said Mahfuzur Rahman, president, CCC, in a statement.